Fearing Arrest, Zakir Naik Skips Father’s Funeral In Mumbai

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Mumbai: Radical preacher Dr Zakir Naik’s father, Dr Abdul Kareem Naik (88), passed away in a city hospital early on Sunday. Naik, who is said to be in Malaysia, did not turn up for the funeral fearing arrest, said sources.

Naik’s father was president of the Bombay Psychiatric Society. While there is no fresh FIR against Naik, the Centre is preparing to declare his NGO Islamic Research Foundation an “unlawful organization” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. A draft being finalized by the Centre cites Naik’s “provocative” speeches, criminal cases against him and his links with Peace TV which allegedly features “communal” content+ as grounds for a ban.

Born in Ratnagiri in coastal Maharashtra, Dr Abdul Kareem, a physician and educationist, was admitted to Mazgaon’s Prince Aly Khan Hospital a few days ago. He suffered cardiac arrest and was declared dead at 3.30 am on Sunday. The funeral was attended by around 1,500 people, including lawyers, doctors, politicians, journalists and businessmen at the Nariyalwadi Qabrastan, near Reay Road station.

Personnel from the city crime branch, National Investigation Agency and local police station were seen at the cemetery observing mourners. A policeman said, “We have come here for routine information and will report back to our respective offices.” Dr Abdul Kareem is survived by two sons, Mohammed and Zakir and three daughters.

“Dr Abdul Kareem Naik’s life cannot be described in a few words. He was popular among Hindus and Muslims. He was the President of Bombay Psychiatric Society. He worked hard for educational institutions like Anjuman-e-Islam and Anjuman-e-Khairul Islam. In the last couple of days, he suffered from low blood pressure and organ failure,” said Manzoor Shaikh, administrative manager of IRF.

When asked why Zakir could not come to attend the funeral, Shaikh said, “It happened all of a sudden and therefore he could not come.” He said he was unaware about Zakir’s return to Mumbai. Zakir Naik extended his stay abroad following allegations that some of the men involved in the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka drew inspiration from his speeches.